In the northeast corner of Italy, nestled up against the Austrian border, the Dolomites have been attracting travelers for centuries. Popular for skiing in winter and hiking in summer, the region historically drew people who wanted to cure themselves in the fresh mountain air.
Forestis, which opened in 2020, was born when the Hinteregger family rediscovered an Alpine chalet nestled in the mountains above the town of Brixen. Built in 1912 by the Hapsburgs, Austria’s royal family at the time, it was meant to be a sanatorium for tuberculosis patients, but when this part of South Tyrol was ceded to Italy during the First World War, the Hapsburgs donated the building to the Catholic church so it wouldn’t fall into the hands of the Italian state. Stefan Hinteregger and his partner Teresa Unterthiner transformed it into a sustainable Alpine retreat, adding three sleek new towers meant to resemble tree trunks, a massive spa, and an innovative restaurant.
As soon as you walk into the lobby in the historic building, you can feel a sense of calm wash over you. There are a handful of rooms in the old building, but most of the suites are located in the towers. Enveloped in pine, with floor-to-ceiling glass on one wall, they feature a minimalist design and a generous terrace with a daybed for relaxing with views of the mountains and valleys. The two penthouses—the hotel’s top suites—are duplexes with a private rooftop pool.
The restaurant has an innovative step-shaped design, giving each cushy u-shaped booth a view of the forest while preserving the privacy of the guests. Every night, the chef creates a unique seven-course tasting menu featuring local, seasonal ingredients. Of course, you can always order a burger off the all-day menu. In the afternoon, cakes like an Austrian sachertorte are offered in the lounge.
As fabulous as the cuisine is, the hotel’s main draw is the 21,500-square-foot spa spread over two floors. You could spend hours sweating it out in the saunas (there are four of them), swimming in the indoor/outdoor pool, and relaxing on the comfy daybeds. Be sure to book a massage incorporating essential oils made from the trees in the forest. There are also daily activities like wyda (an ancient Celtic form of yoga), meditation, and forest walks. After a few days here, it would be hard not to feel calmer and more centered.
Location: Brixen, Italy
The Vibe: A starkly modern Alpine spa retreat in the mountains.
Food and Drink: The hotel has one restaurant, which serves beautifully presented tasting menus and dishes a la carte, and a bar/lounge where you can order off an all-day menu, enjoy tea and cakes in the afternoon, or cocktails and wine in the evening.
Property Amenities: A massive spa with 4 saunas, an indoor/outdoor pool, gym, and yoga room.
Our Favorite Thing About the Hotel: The incredible spa and especially the indoor/outdoor pool with jets and views of the forest.
What’s Nearby?: Plose Mountain for hiking and skiing; the cute little town of Brixen.
Any neighborhood recs?: The location high up in the mountains is quite remote, so most guests spend their entire stay on the property.
Rooms: 62 rooms and suites
Starting nightly rate: $484
Closest Airport: Innsbruck Airport (INN) in Austria
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